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PivotX annoyances

Sun 28 Mar 2010 by mskala Tags used: , ,

I am typing this into a local installation of PivotX on my home machine. My plan is that if I can get it whipped into acceptable shape, I will upload this installation to the Web server and have it replace my existing Web site. At this point I think it's likely I will go through with that; however, there are some annoyances I'd like to mention.

Default entries

When you put up a new installation of PivotX, there are two entries in it welcoming you to the software. Fine. Just like a fresh Linux installation comes with a couple of entries in root's mailbox welcoming you to that system. Here's the thing, though: one of the first things you'll want to do if you're going to use this for a real Web site is delete those two entries, right?

You can't.

If you try to delete them, it gives you a pop-up message asking are you sure, and if you are, it gives you another pop-up saying they've been deleted, and then it takes you to a new page listing all the entries in your site, with the two introductory ones right at the top, post-dated to the current date and time. Because although it technically lets you delete them, it automatically checks for their existence and will re-create them as soon as they vanish.

If you ask on the support forum for how to delete the entries, you get a snarky message from a developer telling you you ought to have searched the forum before posting, and/or that you ought to have read the FAQ. You did search the forum first, of course, and all you found was other people asking the same question and getting snarky messages telling them to search the forum first.

This issue is not mentioned in the FAQ. In 2007 one of the developers allowed as how it ought to be added, but it's 2010 and that has not happened.

In fact, to delete the default entries you must set the "dont_recreate_default_entries" option to "1". This option is documented in Appendix a of the manual. It's not on the configuration screen. It's not on the "advanced" configuration screen either, but the "advanced" configuration screen offers a type-in box where you can create new options of your own, and you can use that to set "dont_recreate_default_entries" to "1".

I'd like to emphasize that deleting the default entries is one of the first things we can guess that nearly every person installing the software is going to want to do, and it's relegated to a "hidden" option you have to add with the special advanced interface, and you get abuse if you ask about it, and it has not been added to the FAQ in three years. This is like something out of a Bonobo Conspiracy strip.

Hey, it might be a good idea to set "dont_recreate_default_pages" to "1" as well; you haven't tried to delete the default "pages" yet, but you can reasonably guess what will happen when you do, now that you know such an option exists. Hmm. You'd better read all the rest of Appendix a as well, hadn't you, because if there are other things in there that you need to change, the FAQ, support forum, and configuration pages sure aren't going to say so...

PivotX feels unloved

The default themes have links pointing back at the PivotX site. That's reasonable enough. The template engine contains code that looks for those links and adds an HTML comment to every page saying "PivotX feels unloved" if the links are not present.

My installation doesn't contain that code anymore.

I probably would have left the link back to PivotX in place, if they hadn't tried to ram it down my throat. They did, and the GPL doesn't require me to acquiesce (seriously, it doesn't: the pages generated are non-interactive output, like the programs compiled by GCC), so they lose.

Emoticon substitution

Emoticon substitution is enabled by default. Oy, veh.


Test test test.
Matt - 2010-03-28 23:56
given that i had never heard of pivotx until you started using it, it does indeed sound like the kind of software you would end up finding to host your site. Masochist.
mason - 2010-04-03 20:17
hansfn - the snarky developer
Just FYI: PivotX 2.1.0 (coming soon) will no longer recreate default entries/pages - your post actually made me change my mind. Ref revision 2576 - see http://pivot-weblog.svn.sourceforge.net/

PS! PivotX 2.1.0 will still feel unloved ;-)
hansfn - the snarky developer - 2010-04-09 14:45
Well, good to know I had some effect. ;-)
Matt - 2010-04-09 14:50
I'm not going to entertain comments here that are disrespectful of me or other users, but it's worth mentioning that one very good reason NOT to have a "Powered by (whatever software)" link on a Web site has to do with security. There's been at least one major attack on PivotX-based Web sites where it appears the attackers were choosing targets by Google searching for the "powered by" message. My page didn't have that; I wasn't hit; most other PivotX sites were.
Matt - 2012-01-16 13:42

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